Children aged five and under 'having rotten teeth removed'

Credit: PA

Almost nine out of 10 tooth extractions in hospital for very young children are for rotting teeth, figures show.

Children aged five and under accounted for 14,545 tooth extractions in 2017/18 in England, with most of those - 12,783 - being for tooth decay.

Doncaster has England's highest rates of extractions, with more than five times the national average of six to 10-year-olds undergoing the procedure.

The worst affected areas include Rotherham and Sheffield.

Older children were also affected. Among all children aged up to the age of 19, some 38,385 procedures were carried out to remove decaying teeth, although this was down slightly on the 39,010 the year before.

Nevertheless, around 105 children per day have their teeth removed in hospital because of tooth decay that is preventable.

Public Health England (PHE) is urging parents to watch their children's sugar intake.

It said most youngsters having around eight cubes of sugar more per day than the recommended limit of five cubes.

The British Dental Association (BDA), which also looked at the NHS data, said it showed that children in parts of Yorkshire and the North West are up to five times more likely to undergo hospital extractions than the national average.

The BDA said the official figures are likely understate the true scale of the problem owing to data gaps and coding inconsistencies.

BDA chairman Mick Armstrong said:

PHE says tooth decay can be largely prevented by reducing sugar consumption, using fluoride toothpastes and routine visits to the dentist.It also supports water fluoridation. Around 5.8 million people in England currently receive fluoridated water.

PHE, which runs the Change4Life health campaign, said parents should 'make a swap when you next shop' and switch to lower sugar alternatives for things such as sugary drinks, yoghurts and breakfast cereals.

Fruit juice and smoothies- which count as one portion of the recommended five a day - should be limited to 150ml per day and should only be consumed with meals.

Dr Sandra White, dental lead for PHE, said:

Tooth extraction is the most common hospital procedure among six to 10-year-olds in England.

PHE said at least 60,000 days of school are missed due to tooth extractions in hospitals.

Professor Michael Escudier, from the Royal College of Surgeons, said:

Dr Max Davie, officer for health improvement at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: